Alenia Aermacchi SF.260 - Basic trainer

Alenia Aermacchi SF.260
Alenia Aermacchi SF.260

Militarymedia.net - The Alenia Aermacchi SF.260 is an Italian basic trainer. It made its first flight in 1964 and entered service in 1966. Formerly known as SIAI Marchetti SF.260. But in 1997, SIAI Marchetti was taken over by Aermacchi. And in 2012 Alenia joined Aermacchi.

The SF.260 represents the premier trainer aircraft which functions as an effective trainer with minimal operating costs. These are flown in the early stages by student pilots and provide a smooth transition at the advanced stages. This aircraft has a high aerobatics capability. SIAI Marchetti is well known for its various aerobatics groups that put on performances using SF.260 aircraft.

More than 900 of these aircraft have been produced. It is operated by several military operators around the world. The largest operators are Italy, Mexico, the Philippines and Turkey. There are also many civilian operators of this aircraft. Altogether these trainers are in operation with 27 countries, including civil operators. SF.260 production is still continuing.

Due to the low service cost along with high performance and reliability the different modifications of the SF.260 are used as training aircraft by many NATO countries. About 100 units have been delivered to the US Air Force.

The most famous event associated with the SF.260, which also served as a major test run for this aircraft, occurred in 1983 when it took a transatlantic flight from the Orbietto lagoon to Chicago, over England, Iceland and Greenland. The journey lasted 7 days and was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight from Europe to America in 1933. When 25 Savoy hydro planes piloted by General Italo Balbo made the first mass crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

SF.260 cabin has two seats side by side. There is a third person seat at the rear of the cabin. Usually the trainer seats are behind the students, who are located side by side. The glass canopy provides a wide viewing area. The SF.260 aero navigation system allows the aircraft to fly at night too.

There is a combat modification of the SIAI Marchetti SF.260. It is used in more than 5 hotspots in various parts of the world. In the early 1980s, Sri Lanka used the SF.260PT against the Tamil Tigers. 2006 saw action during the military conflict between Chad and Sudan. Chad operates six SF.260W (Warrior) aircraft. One of them fell. In 2011 during the Libyan civil war, pro-Gaddafi government forces used the SF.260 in air strikes against rebels. One plane was attacked by rebels because of Misrata. Currently the SF.260 is also used as an anti-smuggling interceptor in several African countries.

More than 20 different modifications of the SF.260 are in operation around the world. This includes SF.260W (Warrior), C, D, E, AM, EA, WL, TP, MP and WP. The latest modification is SF.250TD.

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